The Furry Solution: how fostering could improve your mental health

As semester one wraps up, stress levels rise amongst many Carleton University students. Interactions with a furry friend may be the answer to reducing some of this stress. Several studies in Canada have shown the benefits of animal therapy for students in particular. Shannon Noonan is a faculty member at Carleton University who works with the Centre for Initiatives in Education, doing pet therapy as a retention initiative for students in the Enriched Support Program. Her partner is her five year-old Great Dane-Pointer, Blue.   “There have been studies showing that coming in contact with an animal increases your oxytocin levels, which is your stress fighting hormone,” Noonan said. “It can also decrease your cortisol levels. Cortisol is your stress […]

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Health and Fitness Blog: Does meditation really help?

Meditation—sometimes known as mindfulness—is a state of deep peace and calmness where you just let your thoughts flow naturally and relax. When most people think of meditation, they think of Buddhist monks sitting quietly and trying to achieve nirvana, but can regular people also use it to help them in their daily lives? Meditation has been said to help reduce stress, boost self awareness, and make you more creative. It slows down the activity in your brain and lets you become deeply relaxed, but how does this work? I decided to look into it. A 2011 study from Harvard University and the Massachusetts General Hospital tested the effects of meditation on participants over an eight-week period. They focused on general […]

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Opinion: Finish up school, then enjoy the holidays

From the time high school teachers start preparing their students for freshman year, potential university students hear about the high levels of stress that exist on campus requiring responsible time management and strong work ethic. We’ve all experienced this stress, and it’s no secret that it skyrockets in the weeks leading up to the end of the semester. But academics aren’t all that students have to worry about at the end of the fall semester. Well-intentioned festivities like holiday parties and Secret Santas start in late November when final papers are due and continue straight through December, into the exam period. Students should wait until the end of the semester to worry about executing a perfect holiday season, and focus […]

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